Your custom belt system. Are there too many belts nowadays?

Grasshopper22

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Just out of interest if you had to come up with your own belt system for a martial art, how would it go?

The reason I ask is because in my opinion there are too many belts in too many martial arts and the differences between each coloured belt are too minor. Correct me if I'm wrong but in some martial arts, hundreds of years ago, they only had white belt (student) and black belt (sensei).

Mine would go:

White belt: Student.

Green belt: Sensei. Much more advanced than the average student. Takes at least 10 years to earn.

Black belt: Master. Equivalent of 7th Dan and onwards.

I realise that not a lot of people would like to train under this belt system as they wouldn't feel they were making much progress for a long while but it's my opinion.
 

clfsean

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Well you've copied the Bujinkan's coloring scheme.

And belt rankings only developed during the end of the 19th century by Kano Jigoro, founder of Judo.

I prefer to not use them (how I came up in TCMA's) but Western society demands Little Johnny & Suzie get a new colored belt every once and a while.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I realise that not a lot of people would like to train under this belt system as they wouldn't feel they were making much progress for a long while but it's my opinion.

I understand your opinion, but I agree with the first part of your statement above. Not a lot of people would like train under such a system.

"A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon." - Napoleon Bonaparte

It's just human nature, especially in the West.
 

Carol

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Just out of interest if you had to come up with your own belt system for a martial art, how would it go?

The reason I ask is because in my opinion there are too many belts in too many martial arts and the differences between each coloured belt are too minor. Correct me if I'm wrong but in some martial arts, hundreds of years ago, they only had white belt (student) and black belt (sensei).

Not necessary to go back hundreds of years. There are many arts today, right now, have no ranks other than teacher and student.
 

Flying Crane

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I agree with Sean, I prefer to not use belts now that I'm in the traditional CHinse arts. Actually, I am aware that my sifu does have a belt system, but it never seems to get any attention. My sigung, who have trained with sifu for several decades compared to my three years with him, have not had "belt promotions" in many years and it's kinda forgotten about. I've never brought it up with Sifu, I wonder it he is just letting it disappear. In my opinion, it's better to do that. I have no interest in getting a belt, he has already given me some limited permission to teach.

However, getting back to belts, I agree there tend to be too many, but I am more concerned with the Black Belt/Dan rankings. I think that's way overdone, while I can understand the under/colored belts to inspire students to train.

However, once you reach Dan grade levels, you should not need that carrot any longer. If you do, then you don't really deserve the Dan ranking at all. I would make it two black belt rankings, and here is the distinction:

Black Belt/Dan Grade, Non-Teacher ranking
Black Belt/Dan Grade, Teacher Ranking

Once you have reached Teacher Ranking, you have authority to award all ranks up to and including Teacher Ranking. If you are Non-Teacher ranking, then you have no authority to teach and award rank. Plain and simple.

it requires that teachers be willing to relinquish control over their hoards, and stop making people be beholden to them well into the high dan grades, and stop building empires. It doesn't mean that the Teacher Ranking knows everything. There is always more to learn, and it's important to recognize who is senior and who still has the knowledge to teach you, but there is a sense of being able to stand on your own two feet and be responsible for yourself and your own students. And stop the rank-whore madness.
 

Cyriacus

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I really wouldnt change anything. Belts dont equate to skill.
Some places abuse the Belt System, but those that dont, just use it to clearly mark progress.
 

ETinCYQX

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You're focusing on rank too much. Who cares how many belts there are?
 

frank raud

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While you may want to change the amountof belts in a system, I think the biggest hurdle to the system you are proposing is convincing anyone that a green belt is the equivalent of a black belt. Why not white, black and whatever you want to designate as master(stripes, solid black with bars, etc)? The purple belt was added after I had already gone through to brown in jiu jitsu, never saw a need for the "Barney belt".
 

Never_A_Reflection

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If I were to develop my own belt system, it would be many, many years from now since I haven't been training long enough to be qualified to do so. I do see both sides of the argument--on the one hand, belt ranks do give people (including instructors) "mile markers" for how much they know and how they have progressed and this can motivate some people (it just gives instructors a reminder of what their students know), but on the other hand, the system can be abused by forcing people to pay for 15 different belt ranks and giving them a black belt when they are not truly qualified (since we all know that people who do not train believe that black belts are masters of the art). I, personally, kind of like having my "mile markers", but as a brown belt in a system where there are three degrees of brown belt, my "mile marker" was a test that results in me being called a "nikyu" instead of a "sankyu" now, and my belt doesn't change. I think that, given my current philosophy on karate training, I would use the following system if I were to start my own dojo:

Joukyu (Advanced Level) - Focus on developing personal karate method
Shodan (and up) - Black Belt

Chukyu (Intermediate Level) - Focus on applying basics and learning more complex techniques
Ikkyu - Brown Belt
Nikyu - Brown Belt
Sankyu - Brown Belt

Kihonkyu (Basic Level) - Focus on learning solid body mechanics, form and basic techniques
Yonkyu - White Belt
Gokyu - White Belt
Rokkyu - White Belt

I know, I know--I broke away from the standard 10 mudansha grades that come before the 10 yudansha grades :p
 

Ironcrane

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In my Kung Fu school there was only the black sash. There were titles one could earn before then, but they rarely came into use. My Karate school had a full range of belts. I liked both methods, and I don't think I could choose one over the other. Though an idea did just occur to me when reading this thread. Just to make things even more confusing for everyone, I'd take the color belt ranks from my Karate school (White, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Brown, Black) and reverse their order. The beginner would start of as a black belt, and slowly work their way to white.
 

rframe

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I'm thinking a nice heavy leather belt for everyone, and then replace the belt buckles with rank.... big 'ol Texan cowboy style belt buckles. That'd be rad.
 

Cyriacus

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I'm thinking a nice heavy leather belt for everyone, and then replace the belt buckles with rank.... big 'ol Texan cowboy style belt buckles. That'd be rad.
Oh, theres an idea.

We could all wear colorful hats!
 

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